Fantasy Playhouse works to bridge learning gap for children

MADISON – Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater & Academy is working to bridge the learning gap created during the COVID-19 pandemic by expanding its in-school touring program.

Fantasy Playhouse’s staff believes that they have identified a creative way to engage children by bringing history to life through theatrical performances. With its in-school touring program, Fantasy Playhouse focuses on nutrition, bullying and history. (fantasyplayhouse.org)

The touring shows introduce students to the art of theatre with age-appropriate, curriculum-based pieces, which are socially relevant, entertaining and exciting. Professional actors relate experiences for each child to expand his or her imagination at multiple touring shows during the school year.

Programs include “Nick Nutrition and his Dog Fiber,” for grades K-6, to save the world from the villains of bad eating habits; “Poarch Creek Courage,” for grades 3-5, that intersperses lessons about bullying with Poarch Creek history; and “Freedom Riders — An Engaging Look at the Civil Rights Movement,” for grades 6-12, is set in 1961 as two female Harvard students consider joining the Freedom Rides.

Each 60-minute program ends with a question-and-answer session. Fantasy Playhouse’s touring shows have free, accompanying study guides.

Summer camps at Bob Jones High School have introduced students to the experience of live performance on stage in Zompa Auditorium. After study and rehearsals, the campers present a fully staged production as the camp finale.

In addition, Fantasy Playhouse wants to deepen its impact by not only providing educational programs to schools but also staging its own productions.

“Spotlight on the Future,” Fantasy Playhouse’s capital campaign, needs $19 million minimum for a new facility, which will include a 355-seat theater, technical theater lab and supporting technology.

The new space will allow Fantasy Playhouse to become a field trip destination and provide needed resources to develop programming that fights back against learning loss and bridges the education gap that COVID-19 created.

The theatre arts campus will encompass 35,700 square feet and feature classroom space to support all aspects of theatre arts education. The Fantasy Arts property will be a community asset to the Terry Heights neighborhood, the organization’s location for 18-plus years.

Fantasy Playhouse’s current location is 3312 Long Ave. SW in Huntsville. For more information, call the office, 256-539-6829, or Bob Jones cell phone, 256-975-2159; email info@fantasyplayhouse.com or EducationDirector@fantasyplayhouse.com; or visit fantasyplayhouse.com.

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